•  1
    Sexual Orientation Minority Rights and High-Tech Conversion Therapy
    In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, Springer Verlag. pp. 535-550. 2018.
    The ‘born this way’ movement for sexual orientation minority rights is premised on the view that sexual orientation is something that can neither be chosen nor changed. Indeed, current sexual orientation change efforts appear to be both harmful and ineffective. But what if ‘high-tech conversion therapies’ are invented in the future that are effective at changing sexual orientation? The conceptual basis for the movement would collapse. In this chapter, we argue that the threat of HCT should be ta…Read more
  •  33
    Does encouraging a belief in determinism increase cheating? Reconsidering the value of believing in free will
    with Thomas Nadelhoffer, Jason Shepard, Damien L. Crone, Jim A. C. Everett, and Neil Levy
    Cognition 203 104342. 2020.
    A key source of support for the view that challenging people’s beliefs about free will may undermine moral behavior is two classic studies by Vohs and Schooler (2008). These authors reported that exposure to certain prompts suggesting that free will is an illusion increased cheating behavior. In the present paper, we report several attempts to replicate this influential and widely cited work. Over a series of five studies (sample sizes of N = 162, N = 283, N = 268, N = 804, N = 982) (four prereg…Read more
  •  18
    Pandemic medical ethics
    with Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Kenneth Boyd, Lucy Frith, Rosalind J. McDougall, John McMillan, and Jesse Wall
    Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (6): 353-354. 2020.
    The COVID-19 pandemic will generate vexing ethical issues for the foreseeable future and many journals will be open to content that is relevant to our collective effort to meet this challenge. While the pandemic is clearly the critical issue of the moment, it’s important that other issues in medical ethics continue to be addressed as well. As can be seen in this issue, the Journal of Medical Ethics will uphold its commitment to publishing high quality papers on the full array of medical ethics. …Read more
  •  3
    Who are “we” and why are we cooperating? Insights from social psychology
    with Margaret S. Clark and Molly J. Crockett
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43. 2020.
    Tomasello argues in the target article that a sense of moral obligation emerges from the creation of a collaborative “we” motivating us to fulfill our cooperative duties. We suggest that “we” takes many forms, entailing different obligations, depending on the type of the relationship in question. We sketch a framework of such types, functions, and obligations to guide future research in our commentary.
  •  1
    Systems thinking in gender and medicine
    Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (4): 225-226. 2020.
    If there is a single thread running through this issue of the journal, it may be the complex interplay between the individual and the system of which they are apart, highlighting a need for systems thinking in medical ethics and public health.1 2 Such thinking raises at least three sorts of questions in this context: normative questions about the locus of moral responsibility for change when a system is unjust; practical questions about how to change systems in a way that is morally appropriate …Read more
  •  253
    Moral Neuroenhancement
    with Thomas Douglas and Julian Savulescu
    In L. Syd M. Johnson & Karen S. Rommelfanger (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics, Routledge. 2017.
  •  5
    Hume's Missing Shade of Blue: A New Solution
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 18 (1): 91-104. 2020.
    What to do with the missing shade of blue? Some have argued that Hume's famous thought experiment undermines his central doctrine – the ‘copy principle’ – such that he should have revised his whole theory in light of it. Others contend that the MSB is not a true or actual counterexample to the copy principle, but merely an apparent or conceivable one, so that he had no such obligation to revise. In this essay, I argue that even if the MSB is a true counterexample, Hume would not have been obliga…Read more
  •  7
    Bioethics, EarlyView.
  •  71
    Addiction, Identity, Morality
    with Joshua August Skorburg, Jim A. C. Everett, and Julian Savulescu
    Ajob Empirical Bioethics 10 (2): 136-153. 2019.
    Background: Recent literature on addiction and judgments about the characteristics of agents has focused on the implications of adopting a ‘brain disease’ versus ‘moral weakness’ model of addiction. Typically, such judgments have to do with what capacities an agent has (e.g., the ability to abstain from substance use). Much less work, however, has been conducted on the relationship between addiction and judgments about an agent’s identity, including whether or to what extent an individual is see…Read more
  •  8
    Callahanian Bioethics
    Hastings Center Report 49 (5): 7-8. 2019.
  •  230
    Brain stimulation for treatment and enhancement in children: an ethical analysis
    with Hannah Maslen, Roi Cohen Kadosh, and Julian Savulescu
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8. 2014.
    Davis called for “extreme caution” in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation to treat neurological disorders in children, due to gaps in scientific knowledge. We are sympathetic to his position. However, we must also address the ethical implications of applying this technology to minors. Compensatory trade-offs associated with NIBS present a challenge to its use in children, insofar as these trade-offs have the effect of limiting the child’s future options. The distinction between treatment a…Read more
  •  915
    Should we campaign against sex robots?
    In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications, Mit Press. 2017.
    In September 2015 a well-publicised Campaign Against Sex Robots (CASR) was launched. Modelled on the longer-standing Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the CASR opposes the development of sex robots on the grounds that the technology is being developed with a particular model of female-male relations (the prostitute-john model) in mind, and that this will prove harmful in various ways. In this chapter, we consider carefully the merits of campaigning against such a technology. We make three main arg…Read more
  •  37
    Psychedelic Moral Enhancement
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83 415-439. 2018.
    The moral enhancement debate seems stuck in a dilemma. On the one hand, the more radical proposals, while certainly novel and interesting, seem unlikely to be feasible in practice, or if technically feasible then most likely imprudent. But on the other hand, the more sensible proposals – sensible in the sense of being both practically achievable and more plausibly ethically justifiable – can be rather hard to distinguish from both traditional forms of moral enhancement, such as non-drug-mediated…Read more
  •  5
    What is it like to be a bee?
    Think 16 (45): 43-49. 2017.
  •  26
    Circumcision, Autonomy and Public Health
    with Robert Darby
    Public Health Ethics 12 (1): 64-81. 2019.
    Male circumcision—partial or total removal of the penile prepuce—has been proposed as a public health measure in Sub-Saharan Africa, based on the results of three randomized control trials showing a relative risk reduction of approximately 60 per cent for voluntary, adult male circumcision against female-to-male human immunodeficiency virus transmission in that context. More recently, long-time advocates of infant male circumcision have argued that these findings justify involuntary circumcision…Read more
  •  14
    Rationality + Consciousness = Free Will by David Hodgson (review)
    Philosophy Now 105 43-45. 2014.
  •  268
    Beyond sacrificial harm: A two-dimensional model of utilitarian psychology
    with Guy Kahane, Jim A. C. Everett, Lucius Caviola, Nadira S. Faber, Molly J. Crockett, and Julian Savulescu
    Psychological Review 125 (2): 131-164. 2018.
    Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of eve…Read more
  •  12
    Addressing polarisation in science
    Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (9): 782-784. 2015.
  •  62
    The ethics of infant male circumcision
    Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (7): 418-420. 2013.
    INTRODUCTIONIs the non-therapeutic circumcision of infant males morally permissible? The most recent major development in this long-simmering debate was the 2012 release of a policy statement and technical report on circumcision by the American Academy of Pediatrics . In these documents, the US paediatricians’ organisation claimed that the potential health benefits of infant circumcision now outweigh the risks and costs. They went on to suggest that their analysis could be taken to justify the d…Read more
  •  26
    Love and Other Drugs
    Philosophy Now 91 14-17. 2012.
  •  2
    Criticising religious practices
    The Philosophers' Magazine 63 15-17. 2013.
  •  488
    Sex and Circumcision
    American Journal of Bioethics 15 (2): 43-45. 2015.
    What are the effects of circumcision on sexual function and experience? And what does sex—in the sense related to gender—have to do with the ethics of circumcision? Jacobs and Arora (2015) give short shrift to the first of these questions; and they do not seem to have considered the second. In this commentary, I explore the relationship between sex (in both senses) and infant male circumcision, and draw some conclusions about the ongoing debate regarding this controversial practice.
  •  403
    In this issue, Ahmadi1 reports on the practice of hymenoplasty—a surgical intervention meant to restore a presumed physical marker of virginity prior to a woman's marriage. As Mehri and Sills2 have stated, these women ‘want to ensure that blood is spilled on their wedding night sheets.’ Although Ahmadi's research was carried out in Iran specifically, this surgery is becoming increasingly popular in a number of Western countries as well, especially among Muslim populations.3 What are the ethics o…Read more
  •  314
    In 2012, the politician Todd Akin caused a firestorm by suggesting, in the context of an argument about the moral permissibility of abortion, that some forms of rape were. This seemed to imply that other forms of rape must not be legitimate. In response, several commentators pointed out that rape is a and that there are. While the intention of these commentators was clear, I argue that they may have played into the very stereotype of rape endorsed by Akin. Such a response, I claim, actually obsc…Read more